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Geothermal Ground Source Heating and Cooling

Category: Alternative Supply Systems, Energy Supply

Geothermal Ground Source Heating and Cooling

Summary

Ground source heating and cooling, or geoexchange, is a technique that utilizes geothermal energy to heat or cool buildings, depending on the season. Ground temperatures are relatively consistent, varying on latitude rather than season. A series of underground pipes and water, a building can exchange the temperature from the ground to provide a baseline temperature that is cooler than the air in the summer and warmer than the outside air in the winter. This baseline temperature provided to the building reduces the energy needed to heat or cool the building to comfortable temperatures.

Benefits

  • Energy consumption can drop nearly 50% with the installation of a geothermal heating/cooling system. 
  • Geoexchange systems have a lifespan of 50+ years

Challenges

  • Climate and ground temperature can impede the efficiencies of a geoexchange system. 
  • Geoexchange systems require a large amount of land to drill wells. 

Impacts

Greenhouse Gas Impact
Enormous
Economic Impact
Net Savings
Feasibility
A Big Lift
Timeline
10 years +
Maintenance
Low / None
Publicity
That's pretty cool.

Greenhouse Gas Impact

Energy consumption is greatly reduced for each building fitted with a geo-exhange system. 

Economic Impact

Larger projects can take 15+ years until there is a ROI. 

Feasibility

Space, underground utilities, and funds necessary limit feasibility. 

Timeline

Designs are site specific, capital intensive, and require many steps before implementation.

Maintenance

Few moving parts once installed.